Left in the lurch

Travelling Woes

Left in the lurch

It goes without saying that senior citizens have a tough time finding their way through the City. On the occasion of World Elder’s Day today, one cannot help but notice that public transport, especially buses, are anything but friendly towards them.

The senior citizens don’t really get a seat on a bus even if there are seats reserved for them. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) authorities haven’t imposed fines on those who occupy the seats meant for senior citizens. Most of the senior citizens have the same tale to narrate when it comes to their experiences on BMTC buses. 

   The buses too are in a massive rush to leave, most of the time, unmindful of whether senior citizens have boarded them or not. 

The senior citizens concede that people don’t offer them a seat even if they are sitting in those seats reserved for the elderly.
    Vasanthan, who is 65 years old, changes three buses from Meddahalli near Hosakote to reach his workplace in Ulsoor. 

“I travel standing and nobody bothers to offer me a seat. By the time I reach work, I’m so tired but there is no use complaining. Things won’t change,” he reasons. 

Jayaraj, who works in the sales division of a company, feels people are indeed discourteous. 

“Most of the time I see women sitting in the men’s seat or those reserved for senior citizens. But I am reluctant to ask them to get up. This must come voluntarily,” he states. 

Veerappan, another salesman, was surprised when he was told that people occupying the seats reserved for senior citizens could be fined.

 “Is there a fine?” he asks. Veerappan adds, “I’ve never seen anybody being fined. If that happens, it will be the best thing the government has done for the senior citizens.  There are a lot of people who travel by bus, especially the senior citizens.”   

The BMTC authorities claim that they have checking inspectors who conduct surprise raids to catch ticketless travellers and also impose fines on those who occupy the seats reserved for senior citizens and the physically challenged. Ekroop Caur, managing director, BMTC observes, “We have taken note of this matter and we will have our checking squad conduct checks. 

The fine amount of Rs 100 is not enough to deter people from sitting in reserved seats. We will have to think of an alternative to get people to follow the rules.” 

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